[Notes from Personal Democracy Forum 2007 in New York]
Seth Godin – a marketing blogger who’s doing a very amusing talk with lots of good sound bites and funny slides, mostly arguing that politicians need to be aware of the paradigm shift that’s happened in how marketing and political campaigns work.

Vince Lombardi was wrong when he said quitters never win and winners never quit, that’s baloney, we all quit ballet lessons and we’re doing fine.

We need an ugly president – and that’s not going to happen in today’s system. Everyone in this room’s business is to spread ideas. The reason it costs a billion dollars to elect a president today is that the system doesn’t work anymore. There’s too much clutter – people no longer listen to all the ads, we’re not interested. There’s something really broken here. We can’t just keep branding everything and yelling at people. Marketers think like the Medusa: if they put an ad in front of us we’ll turn to stone and read it. Spam’s not working anymore though.

Marketers instead should think about the privilege of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to hear these messages.
91% of real estate agents never contact the buyer or seller of a house after the deal is struck (I’m not sure if he thinks this is a good thing or a bad thing. Good, I guess? I wouldn’t want to hear from the agent again unless something went wrong with the deal.)

You have to try to talk to the early adopters. Admitedly the geeks and the nerds are sometimes wrong (e.g. Howard Dean) but the early adopters are the ones who’ll get the message transmitted to the big masses, who are experts at ignoring spam advertising.

People like doing what other people are doing. Showed a slide: “Clap your hands in unison until I say stop” – and it took all of four seconds for the audience to clap in unison. We like doing things together. Like the macarena. Cumulative advantage – people look at bestseller lists to see what other people are doing.

Ralph Nadar – most powerful non-elected person. He has spent ZERO dollars on advertising. It’s not word of mouth, it’s flipping the megaphone and amplifying people who agree with you, you have lots of people out there who are repeating your message for you. You give up some control but get a conversation in return.

New cycle:
Be remarkable (worth voting for, supporting) –> tell a story to the people who want to hear from you –> they spread the word –> get permission (huh?) –> be remarkable

Good news: maybe we can start electing people we’re proud of again.

1 Comment

  1. steve masur

    Jill, if contact is king, how does one contact you? Is this the only way?

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